COVID-19 Update: FAQ and Other Information for Clients

Articles Posted in Business Law

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Graphic shows two hands. One holding a contract that shows Force Majeure and the other hand signing.As a commercial transactional lawyer, I often speak to my clients and colleagues about contract management. While I am usually heavily involved in many stages of the contract lifecycle – most notably, negotiations, drafting, closings and amendments – the real work (and most problems) arise during contract performance, which is the time the contracting company is typically “on its own.”  I stress to my clients that competent management of contracts post-execution is critical: your management team needs to know its contractual obligations: due dates and milestones, payment terms, and areas of performance. Who’s doing what, when, and for how much?  I recommend companies appoint a contract manager to maintain each contract and its pertinent information, and create a database of performance, payment, and other obligation information, along with applicable deadlines and a “tickler” system.

Now, in the wake of COVID-19 and its tremendous impact on businesses, it is important to pull out those databases, and update them with information particular to the current state of operations – yours and your contracting partners. Continue reading →

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In the January 2, 2020 edition of The Legal Intelligencer Edward T. Kang and Kandis L. Kovalsky co-authored “Five Years After ‘Daimler’: It’s All in the Specifics.

Major cases such as 2014’s Daimler AG v. Bauman have refined the requirements for, and in many senses restricted, the establishment of personal jurisdiction over parties. This goes for both the exercise of general and specific jurisdiction.

The exercise of personal jurisdiction is fundamentally connected with the constitutional right to due process. The question of whether it is fair and procedurally proper to subject a person to a forum state’s jurisdiction has been refined by the U.S. Supreme Court multiple times in the past decades, and especially in recent years. Major cases such as 2014’s Daimler AG v. Bauman have refined the requirements for, and in many senses restricted, the establishment of personal jurisdiction over parties. This goes for both the exercise of general and specific jurisdiction.

The basic notion behind general jurisdiction is that the defendant has to have, to quote directly from the well-known International Shoe v. State of Washington opinion, “continuous and systematic” affiliations with the forum state to reasonably expect that state’s jurisdiction over her, no matter the issue at stake (as opposed to specific jurisdiction, where the issue in question is the only reason one could expect to land up in another state’s court). But, what does “continuous and systematic” mean? Continue reading →

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In the September 5, 2019 edition of The Legal Intelligencer, Edward T. Kang, Managing Member of KHF wrote “‘T.M. v. Janssen Pharmaceuticals’ – Lessons on Standards of Evidence.”

The value of the reinstatement of T.M. v. Janssen for lawyers is that it clarifies laws about evidence, how courts determine evidence’s reliability, and general lessons on procedural law.

Last month, the Pennsylvania Superior Court reinstated a case concerning the drug Risperdal, which had initially been dismissed mid-trial in 2016. Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceutical’s drug, Risperdal, is currently the subject of thousands of suits alleging that the drug directly caused gynecomastia in many young men.

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What happens when a dispute is between or among directors of the same company? Can the company use the attorney-client privilege to shield corporate materials, including any attorney-client privileged materials against a director?

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In the April 11, 2019 edition of The Legal Intelligencer, Edward Kang, Managing Member of KHF wrote “Attorney-Client Privilege and Abuse of Privilege.”

The attorney-client privilege, the oldest evidentiary privilege known to the common law, is an exception to one of the main policies behind the paramount rule of evidence that relevant evidence is admissible at trial. In this regard, the attorney-client privilege is an obstruction to the search for the truth. The privilege protects confidential attorney-client communications made for the purposes of obtaining legal advice. While many attorney-client communications are confidential, they are not privileged unless they were made for obtaining legal advice. The attorney-client privilege is designed to facilitate free attorney-client communications without the fear of unwanted disclosure so that clients can receive competent legal advice from their lawyers. Continue reading →

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We are often asked by our clients for non-disclosure and confidentiality agreements (often referred to as NDAs) in the transactional setting as well as in litigation settlement agreements – but what if the employment contract or settlement includes provisions regarding a discrimination claim?

Effective as of March 18, 2019 in New Jersey, lawyers must be wary of employment or settlement agreements that include any provision that “has the purpose or effect of concealing the details relating to a claim of discrimination, retaliation or harassment.” If a provision is contained in a settlement agreement to which the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) applies, it is unenforceable against the employee. If the employee chooses to reveal claim specifics in a way that the employer is “reasonably identifiable,” the employer may likewise reveal formerly confidential information. In fact, such settlement agreements must contain a bold, prominently placed notice that “although the parties may have agreed to keep the settlement and underlying facts confidential, such a provision in an agreement is unenforceable against the employer if the employee publicly reveals sufficient details of the claim so that the employer is reasonably identifiable.” Continue reading →

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In the January 3, 2019 edition of The Legal Intelligencer, Edward Kang, Managing Member of KHF wrote “Defending Officers and Directors From a Lawsuit by the Company.

When a corporate director or officer is sued by a third party for alleged misconduct carried out in her capacity as director/officer, the company generally indemnifies the director/officer by defending her against the lawsuit. The company’s duty of indemnification arises from both the law and governing corporate documents (e.g., articles of incorporation, bylaws or employment agreement). While there are limited exceptions to the company’s duty of indemnification—e.g., the director/officer acted in her personal capacity or that she acted in bad faith against the interest of the company—the duty of indemnification is broad. The company must defend the director/officer, at least until the court determines otherwise. What protection does a corporate director/officer have, however, if the person suing her is the company itself?

A company sues its officer or director more frequently than many people think. The company could bring a direct lawsuit against an officer or director for a breach of fiduciary duty (e.g., alleged self-dealing). Sometimes, a shareholder could bring a derivative lawsuit under the company’s name against the officer or director. Continue reading →

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In the November 8, 2018 edition of The Legal Intelligencer, Edward T. Kang, Managing Member of KHF and Kandis Kovalsky, Associate of KHF, co-authored “When Noncompete Agreements Involve Competing Laws.”

In situations where employers also make their employees, or certain employees, agree to restrictive covenants, particularly noncompetes, companies expect the same uniformity and predictability regarding their enforceability as to each employee, regardless of where the employee works or lives. Employees, on the other hand, often expect (as we learned through a recent case) that even with another state’s choice of law provision, they will still be afforded the protection of the laws of their own state. This disconnect is no clearer than where non-California headquartered companies hire California residents as employees and require them to sign noncompetes governed by another state’s law. In California, noncompete agreements are generally unenforceable (with some limited exceptions). This is well-known, particularly by California residents. So, what happens in this situation if the California employee violates their noncompete? Continue reading →

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On February 20, 2018 Kang Haggerty and Fetbroyt LLC published a memorandum on the New Municipal Land Use Law.

On January 15, 2018, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed into law Senate Bill No. 3233, effective immediately, which reforms requirements under N.J.S.A. 40:55D-1 et seq., also referred to as the Municipal Land Use Law (MLUL). The amendments under the MLUL modify the requirements for performance and maintenance guarantees required for developers. Under the new, more developer-friendly law, “the developer shall furnish a performance guarantee in favor of the municipality in an amount not to exceed 120% of the cost of installation of only those improvements required by an approval or developer’s agreement, ordinance, or regulation to be dedicated to a public entity, and that have not yet been installed.”

In the past, the municipality had expansive authority to require performance guarantees for improvements deemed “necessary or appropriate.” N.J.S.A. 40:55D-53. Additionally, the list of improvements subject to performance guarantees from developers (and in favor of the municipality) are now limited to the following: streets, pavement, gutters, curbs, sidewalks, street lighting, street trees, surveyor’s monuments, water mains, community septic systems, drainage structures, public improvements of open space, and any grading necessitated by the preceding improvements.

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What is a bulk sale clearance certificate, and how is a bulk sale clearance certificate related to a Pennsylvania real estate transaction?  In Pennsylvania, a bulk sale clearance certificate must be obtained in all transactions involving the sale of fifty-one or more percent of the assets of a business, including real estate.  Because it is common for property owners to create single purpose entities to own the real estate, bulk sale clearance certificates are required in many real estate transactions, since the real estate represents the sole asset (i.e., 100%) of the assets owned by such SPE.  A bulk sale clearance certificate from the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue verifies that a particular entity satisfied all tax obligations due to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, including taxes, interest, penalties, fees, charges and any other liabilities up to and including the date of transfer.

Moreover, under 69 P.S. § 529, every corporation, joint-stock association, limited partnership or company organized under the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or any other state that engages in business in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania which sells in bulk fifty-one percent or more of any stock of goods, wares or merchandise of any kind, fixtures, machinery, equipment, buildings, or real estate, shall give the Department of Revenue ten days’ notice of the sale, prior to the completion of the transfer of such property.

To provide proper notice and comport with Pennsylvania law, the seller must file form REV-181, the Application for Tax Clearance Certificate, with the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue and the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry ten days before the closing of the sale. A copy of the agreement of sale and preliminary settlement statement should be included with the Application for Tax Clearance Certificate.  (Note, however, that the Department of Revenue often requests re-submission post-closing so that all closing information and interim tax returns through the date of closing may be submitted).  In addition, all such entities must file all state tax reports with the Department of Revenue to the date of the proposed closing on the transfer of property and pay all taxes and unemployment compensation contributions due to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania through the date of closing. If all state tax reports have been filed and if all state taxes and unemployment compensation contributions are paid up to the date of the proposed transfer, the State issues a clearance certificate to the seller, which is then provided to the buyer.

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